In a bid to take the NCDs conversation to the next level, Stowelink’s partner —Wazee Pamoja League has embraced an innovative way to tackle NCDs —Football. Football is a sport that is marked by use of physical energy. A systematic review by Sarmento et al., 2021 (Recreational football is medicine against non-communicable diseases) demonstrated the benefits of recreational football practice on non-communicable diseases related to cardiovascular and bone health, body composition, type 2 diabetes, and prostate cancer. With this, the sport eliminates the risk of being physically inactive and subsequently developing NCDs.
With the rising burden of NCDs, there is a growing body of need for everyone to join in and keep NCDs at bay. A concerted effort must be mobilized to significantly reduce the number of local, regional and global deaths attributable to NCDs.
NCDs are now the leading cause of death globally with 71% of the deaths attributable to these diseases which include cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes, mental illness and cancer. The common risk factors for these chronic disease include;
- Harmful Alcohol Use
- Tobacco Use
- Unhealthy Diet
- Physical Inactivity
Wazee Pamoja League was birthed as a platform to encourage peace and unite the communities in the Eastlands of Nairobi following the 2007/2018 post-election violence in Kenya. While unity was the initial purpose, the league has morphed into an incredible platform for elderly members of Eastlands to engage in conversations around urgent and pressing issue in the society including NCDs and peace keeping missions.
Apart from the fact that WPL is using football as a tool for engaging in conversations around NCDs, what makes the league even more phenomenal is that the participants are mainly the elderly. The elderly people in the society are the most physically inactive segment of the population. Small wonder then, that most of them are diagnosed with chronic diseases. Promoting physical activity among the elderly segment of the population, like WPL is doing, is crucial and can result into significant reduction of NCD cases.
Since inception, WPL has attracted several participants, and this is a testament to the impact the league continues to create in Eastlands. The league has about 20 active clubs.
According to the current Chairman and one of the founders of WPL, Mr. Kiarie Mwangi, the league has experienced fair share of challenges. Mostly related to financial resources, Mr. Kiarie submits that the league depends heavily on the subscription from the individual clubs to run their operations. There is limited corporate sponsorship, and this is threatening their resolve to address NCDs among the elderly through football. There is also stiff competition for the available playing grounds.
Women Engagement in WPL:
The success of NCD conversation within the community is when it cuts across gender. To this end WPL is reaching out to elderly women within the fraternity to be active participants in weekly football activities. This will not only spread NCD message within family unit but equally provide safe space to form support group on particular NCD.
Look out for women engagement in Wazee Pamoja League in coming weeks!
Stowelink joins Wazee Pamoja League in calling out for support towards this initiative. Reach out to WPL through firstname.lastname@example.org or +254 703 784 129
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